Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow

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  • Wieliczka Salt Mine
    by albert34
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine
    by albert34
  • Wieliczka Salt Mine
    by albert34
  • luigi_pl's Profile Photo

    SALT MINE IN WIELICZKA

    by luigi_pl Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    "the historic salt mine in wieliczka is the only site in the world (!) where mining has continued since the middle ages. lying on nine levels, its original excavations (longitudinals, traverses, chambers, lakes, as well as lesser and major shafts) stretch for the total of 300 kilometres: reaching the depth of 327 metres they illustrate all the stages of the development of the mining technology over time."

    it's on the unesco's list (as the old town in krakow) and it's a must to see!!!

    the chapel of saint kinga (in the mine)
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    CHAPEL OF SAINT KINGA - WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by LoriPori Updated Jun 15, 2010

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    The largest among the underground chapels in the Wieliczka Salt Mine, the CHAPEL OF SAINT KINGA or KAPLICA SW. KINGI, is actually a sizable subterranean church carved in rock salt and embellished with salt sculptures and bas-reliefs.
    The Chapel has been a place of worship since 1896. Its ornamentation has been created over a period of more than a 100 years.
    When I first glimpsed the Chapel (photo #1) , I was struck with awe at its vastness and beauty. The first thing noticeable are the beautiful chandeliers (photo #5) , made up of rock salt crystals. The focus of the chapel is the wonderful altar (photo #2). To the left is the replica of Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" (photo #4) carved in a wall of rock salt.
    There is also a wonderful carving of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (photo #3).
    The newest addition to the chapel is the salt statue of Pope John Paul II

    An excellent website for the Salt Mine:

    http://kopalnia.pl/site.php?action=site&urlMain=2,853,1,853,,&&id_site=853&level=853

    Chapel of Saint Kinga Altar Jesus Mary & Joseph The Last Supper Rock salt crystal chandelier

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    SALT MINE in Wieliczka

    by Maggies Written Oct 17, 2004

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    It's the oldest operational salt mine in Europe which has been working for over 700 years. Since 1978, the mine is on UNESCO's list of World Class Landmarks of Cultural and Natural Heritage - where it was listed among the top 12 attractions in the world. The tourist route open to sightseers is only a small part of the entire mine. The mine includes 7.5 million square meters of post-excavation space on nine levels, each between 64 and 327 meters. The tourist route extends to level three only - to the depth of 135 meters. During the 2,5 hour tour, you will travel underground approximately 3.5 km. During this time you will see 30 of the more than 2148 chambers.

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    Buy something made of SALT in Krakow, Poland

    by jumpingnorman Updated May 23, 2009

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    I had never been to a saltmine before and boy! -- was I in for a treat when I visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine on the southeast outskirts of Krakow!

    To reach the mine, I had to walk for about 2000 m down claustrophobic stairs and to go around the subterranean museums and cathedral took about three hours. But going up was thankfully through a quicker elevator!

    The mine was worked on for 900 years. It used to be one of the world's biggest and most profitable industrial establishments when common salt was commercially a medieval equivalent of today's oil.

    Nine centuries of mining in Wieliczka produced a total of some 200 kilometers of passages as well as 2,040 caverns of varied size. The tourist route starts 64 m deep, includes twenty chambers, and ends 135 m below the earth surface, where the world's biggest museum of mining is located with the unique centuries-old equipment among its exhibits. Still below, some 210 m deep, there is a sanatorium for those suffering from asthma and allergy. Occasionally concerts and other events take place in the Wieliczka mine’s biggest chambers.

    There's also a chamber there that serves as a gift shop and I was able to buy some "salt" statues and wall hangings (12 apostles). But if you missed buying here, there are also gift shops up at the entrance. I did buy this very nice necklace for my Mom which she still treasures to this day - I think it was made of amber. I got something else for my wife in Poland.

    UNESCO has entered the Wieliczka Salt Mine in its World Heritage Register.

    Amazing Krakow Saltmine, Poland
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    WIELICZKA SALT MINE

    by LoriPori Updated Jun 15, 2010

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    Sunday May 30, 2010 - VT Group Tour to Wieliczka Salt Mine
    The Historic WIELICZKA SALT MINE, located 10 km from the centre of Krakow, is the only mine in the world where mining has been continuous since the Middle Ages. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site September 9, 1978. Every year the salt mine (we called it a Gold Mine) attracts millions of tourists from around the world.
    Constructed on nine levels, these excavations stretch for 300 kilometres and reach a depth of 327 metres. To enter the first chamber, visitors have to descend the stairs (380 steps in all) at Level I which is 64 metres below ground level.
    The walk through the Salt Mine takes about three hours. As you walk, you will see magnificent formations such as chapels cut in the salt (Chapel of Saint Kinga situated 101 metres under the ground), underground lakes and hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites. You will see on display, the tools used by the miners when they worked underground and the many sculptures made of salt.
    A vast underground city, the Salt Mine also contains a restaurant and souvenir shops. The underground chambers also serve as venues for organizing conferences, banquets, parties, concerts and even weddings.
    Going back up to the surface (135 metres) you use a special express lift up the Danilowicz Shaft from Level 3. Seven people were crammed in there at once. Remember, thousands of tourists visit every day and there is only one way up. In just minutes, we were up to the surface - amazing!

    Prices: Regular 65 zl
    Reduced 51 zl
    photo/video permit 10 zl

    An excellent website is the official Kopalnia website:

    http://kopalnia.pl/site.php?action=site&urlMain=2,853,1,853,,&&id_site=853&level=853

    Wieliczka Salt Mine Sculptures in Salt Stone The Altar

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  • Natalllya's Profile Photo

    Wieliczka Salt Mine

    by Natalllya Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Wieliczka Salt Mine is an incredible thing to see.

    Most of the time you will spend about 150 m underground. Everything is made entirely out of salt: the floor, the steps, the walls, the carvings, wall art even the chapels and the church. If thats not amazing enough, make sure to check out the underground orchestra and the art exhibit. You can also visit the museum and send a postcard to a friend from 150 m below the earth's surface. There is also a restaurant there in case you get hungry. The wieliczka also holds 2 Guiness Recors. Amazing!

    PS Its also a rehabilitation site for those with weak health (particularly those with thyroid disease).

    Wieliczka Salt Mine - A salt creation
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  • doogienj's Profile Photo

    Salt Mines

    by doogienj Updated Apr 15, 2005

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    When I first read of the salt mines, I was honestly not very excited. But I sure am glad that I went. The mines are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It took about 20 minute to drive there from the Cracovia hotel where the tour left. I used Cracow Tours which I was very satisfied with. They had large busses that were comfortable. Tickets can be bought at the hotel before departure, or on the buss if you prefer one of their other pick up locations.

    The mines were established some 700 years ago. They finally closed for production in 1997. It's 10 levels deep and over 250 meters below ground. It's impressive to see how the developed horse operated elevators to get the salt up and down. Working in the salt mines were very dangerous, but also well paid.

    Everything in the mine is made from salt. The floors, walls, ceilings and decorations. In spots is white and you can break it off and taste it. All the art work was made by local amateur miners. The chapel is truely breathtaking. It is difficult to take pictures in the mine due to the low light, unless you have a tripod or super strong flash.

    The tour stats with a brisk 400 stairs descent to 150 meters below. Thankfully the tour ends with a very crowded real miners elevator ride back up for 45 seconds.

    Salt chandaliers in the chapel
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  • DGPoohBear's Profile Photo

    Salt Mines

    by DGPoohBear Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Wieliczka Salt Mines are located less than 10 miles east of Krakow and is easily visited in a day.
    It is the oldest salt mine in Poland and has nine levels, with a total depth of close to 900 feet. Only a small portion of this is able to be toured. On this tour you will see an underground lake, several salt chapels, and numerous salt carvings. In addition, if you are interested in geology you can tour a geologic museum before returning to the main level in an operating mining elevtor!

    Tours last approximately an hour and a half and are availible in many languages.

    The salt mine is amazing! The trip is well worth it. However, if you are unable to or have trouble walking you should consider paying extra to take the elevator as there are slightly less than 400 steps to descend and the tour is about a mile long.

    Salt Carving
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    History About the Workers and Chapels

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 6, 2004

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    As a result of the miners' tradition of carving into the salt, the mine contains entire underground churches, altars, bas-reliefs, and dozens of life-size or larger statues. It houses an underground museum , as well as, chambers for people suffering from respiratory ailments. It was said that these peolpe can spend up to a few months underground to help aleviate their respiratory ailments.

    Other purposes for the carvings pertain to the religious beliefs of the miners. They built many chapels in the hopes that their faith would spare them a death in the extremely dangerous mines. The largest of the chapels, the Chapel of the Blessed Kinga, is located 101 meters below the surface and measures 50 x 15 x 12 meters!

    Chapel of the Blessed Kinga

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  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Wieliczka Salt Mine

    by mikelisaanna Written Oct 22, 2005

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    The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a large underground salt mine located just outside Krakow that has hundreds of miles of tunnels which were dug over the centuries. The mine is famous for its salt sculptures and its underground chapels. Tours of the mine cover about 2 miles of the tunnels, going over 100 meters undergound. The first 10 minutes of the tour is a descent down about 400 steps into the mine (an elevator takes you back to the surface). The tour showcases numerous salt sculptures and large underground rooms (chapels, a ballroom, a lake, etc.). The highlight of the tour is St. Kinga's chapel, a large underground church whose altar, chandeliers, and artwork are all made from salt.

    The Wiliczka Salt Mine is a UNESCO World Heritage SIte. Tours are regularly available in Polish and English, and less frequently in other languages. The tour took about 2 hours. One annoying thing about the tour was that the last twenty minutes were spent in a souvenir/restaurant area where we had to wait befor getting the elevator to surface.

    St. Kinga's Chapel in the Wieliczka Salt Mine The Last Supper sculpted in rock salt
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    Minas de Sal /Salt Mines

    by elpariente Updated Nov 6, 2011

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    "The salt was worth more than silver"
    Legend says that when the Hungarian Princess Kinga (Kunegunda in Hungarian ) went to marry with the ruler of Krakow, she wanted to give the Poles something unknown, so she threw her ring into a salt well , and when she came to Wieliczka , she ordered to make a hole in the ground and pulled out a rock salt crystal where it was Kinga's ring
    There is evidence that the mine is in operation since 1040 and has produced huge profits for its entire history for the monarchy in Poland
    The mine has 300 km of tunnels and reach 327m deep. Today no longer they extract salt and it is exploited for tourism, such as was done since the fourteenth century when it had access to the nobility of the court and the Kings with important visits
    As it took a long time for miners to leave the mine for their religious devotions they decided that Catholic services were held inside the mine and for that they carved statues, churches and even a cathedral, Santa Kirga, where absolutely everything is made of rock salt : the saints, altar , rceilings ... even the chandeliers
    For hundreds of years unknown miners have carved tunnels, chambers, figures, saints, shrines and even St. Kinga cathedral that you may know during the visit of several miles (3.5 km) that are made after descending almost 100m (see the photo) with an staircase of 400 steps. The advantage is that to go up they take you with a fast mine elevator that takes a few seconds
    Although it seems unbelivable there are in the cave lakes, music halls, restaurants and medical treatments

    "La sal valía más que la plata"
    La leyenda dice que cuando iba a casarse la princesa hungara Kinga (Kunegunda en húngaro) con el regidor de Cracovia , quería regalar a los Polacos algo desconocido , por lo que tiró su anillo a un pozo se sal y cuando llegó a Wieliczka mandó hacer un agujero en el suelo y sacó una piedra de cristal de sal en la cual estaba el anillo de Kinga
    Hay datos de que la mina está en explotación desde 1040 y de los grandes ingresos que ha producido durante toda su historia a la monarquía de Polonia
    La mina tiene más de 300 kms de túneles y alcanzan los 327m de profundidad. Hoy en día han dejado de extraer sal y en ella se explota la actividad turística , tal como se venía haciendo desde el siglo XIV cuando accedían a ella los personajes de la corte y los Reyes con sus visitas importantes
    Como les llevaba mucho tiempo a los mineros salir para realizar sus devociones religiosas se decidió que los servicios católicos se realizaran dentro de la mina y para ello se tallaron estatuas , se hicieron iglesias y hasta una catedral , de Santa Kirga , donde absolutamente todo es de sal de roca , los santos , el altar los techos... hasta los candelabros
    Durante cientos de años mineros desconocidos han labrado túneles , Salas , figuras , santos , altares y hasta catedrales como la de Santa Kinga que se ven durante la visita de varios kilómetros ( 3.5 Kms ) que se hace después de descender casi 100m por una escalera ( la de la foto ) con 400 peldaños . La ventaja es que la subida se hace en un rápido ascensor de Mina que tarda 30 degundos
    Aunque parezca mentira también hay dentro de la cueva : lagos , salas de música , de concierto y tratamientos medicinales

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    Salt Mines-Wieleska

    by BruceDunning Updated Aug 29, 2009

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    It was a main operation for mining for 700 years, and some still is mined in side routes. At one time during the heh day, the salt supported 1/3 of the Poland economy. There are 180 miles of routes underground, and only 2 miles are on tour. It is 9 levels, or 1000 feet down via elevator. That would even guarantee you to have a chance to get lost, though. It is a large and winding passageway. The miners sculpted many characters in working pose and also fairy tale elves.
    The cavernous church called Saint Kingas was built down under in the 20th century and was used as a church for everyday services, and is still used for mass and events/weddings. It has two chandeliers and an altar with Jesus at the alcove. It took many years (est 20-30)to carve out of the salt base. The miners did this to commemorate their dead comrades and to use as praying services for the risk they take in going down into the mine. Sculpture Anoyo did a piece of Pope John II. This church is the highlight of the walking tour, but also the impact of the large size of the mine is beyond belief.
    The real drawback is the tour, in a language of your choice, takes you to stop at no less than 6-maybe 7 souvenir places along the way and almost force you to "want to buy" something. I did not like that at all. I was on a tour, and was pushed into a situation to shop for trinkets at all of these stops. The tour itself is for about one mile walking.

    entrance to the mine lobby for tour sculpted  tier art in salt salt carving of last supper main hallway-holds 5,000 people-alter is salt The grand hall-church alcove
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    Wielickza Salt Mines: deeper underground!

    by Orbital_ Written May 11, 2005

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    The UNESCO-listed salt mines in Wielickza are an easy day trip out of Krakow. Penetrating some 327m underground and having been in operation for hundreds of years, this is a geology field trip with a difference. Guides take you over 150m beneath the surface through labyrinthine tunnels opening up into majestic caverns. Over the years within the chambers, resident miners meticulously carved out chapels, altars, statues within the mined caverns. What is incredible is that these guys were no professional artists!

    Be advised that only a handful of English-language tours operate each day, you may have to wait for a while upon arrival to join one. Also be aware that this place is very popular indeed with tourists, school groups especially.

    To get to the mines take the frequent minibuses that depart from the Krakow Station area. Tourist information will be able to advise you of the latest timetables.

    The stunning 'Chapel of the Blessed Kinga'
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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    The Deepest Post Office in the World

    by Jmill42 Written Mar 6, 2004

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    OK, so that does sound as touristy as anything I have ever heard... but it is kind of cool! Yes, I submitted and sent a postcard home from here. All of the tour operators give you plenty of time to buy and send your cards from down below. Also at the end of the trip is a restaurant. I needed it! The mines involve a LOT of walking!

    One of the salt sculptures along the way

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    are they tiles,no they are not.

    by bankowskiboy Written Oct 31, 2004

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    me and my wife caught the bus to wieliczka,only a short journey from krakow,but well worth visiting.our tour guide cristoph spoke perfect english.a local man,he certainly knows is stuff regarding the mines,if you have time,after your visit,have a look around the town of wieliczka.

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